Wednesday, December 1, 2021

BIDPA crisis – Botswana’s think-tank loses it brains

Professor Roman Grynberg who had become the face of Botswana Institute of Development and Policy Analysis (BIDPA) ÔÇô resigned from the country’s think tank last week becoming the fourth PhD to leave the organisation in two months. The other three who resigned from BIDPA recently are Dr Monnane Monnane who was BIDPA’s biggest revenue earner, Dr Pelotshweu Moepeng and Dr Letsema Mbayi.

Asked why the country’s brain trust was losing its stock in trade ÔÇô brains – at this rate, Professor Grynberg told Sunday Standard that, “I would have stayed till my retirement. I don’t want to leave BIDPA or Botswana, but Dr Seleka’s management style makes it difficult for me to stay.” Dr Tebogo Seleka, who is BIDPA’s chief executive officer, is being blamed for at least three of the four resignations of BIDPA’s PhDs in the past two months.

Professor Grynberg said he was leaving BIDPA “because of the way I and other staff members are being treated by Dr Seleka.” He confirmed that he gave the same reasons to BIDPA board chairperson Maria Machailo-Ellis. Professor Grynberg is credited in the media fraternity for BIDPA to rise to the fifth best think tank in Sub-Saharan Africa and the second best in Southern Africa Development Community on “the most authoritative list of high performance think tanks in the world.”

The latter is how the University of Pennsylvania, one of the prestigious institutions of higher learning in the United States, touts its Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program. The ranking criteria include among other things “the think tank’s ability to produce high quality, rigorous, policy-oriented research that is accessible to policymakers, media and the public and media reputation (number of media appearances, interviews and citations).

Professor Grynberg has more media interviews, citations and contributions that all BIDPA researchers put together and was the public face of BIDPA. BIDPA was set up in 1995 to offer policy analyses through research and to monitor the country’s economic performance.

SUNDAY STANDARD will next week publish an in-depth interview with Professor Grynberg

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